This post will be all about whales. I'll do another post where I tell you all the other cool things about our cruise from Port Townsend north to Stuart Island, but not in this post. This post is the post with all the whale photos.
Yesterday in the middle of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, we got to see our first Minke whales!
There were two of them, and they're pretty cool. Kinda boring as far as whale viewing goes (no breaching or tail slaps normally, but I love the perfect wave shape of their dorsal fins.
Then, as we got up along the west side of San Juan Island and around Henry Island, ahead of us a ways we saw a couple of big splashes (we think breaches) and eventually came upon a large pod of orcas (technically cetaceans — part of the dolphin family — and not whales), including several youngsters!! It was so cool! We turned around and ran parallel with them for about an hour, taking way too many photos. Here is a very VERY small percentage of them.
(See the baby peeking out from behind mama?)
Orca on its belly with fins in the air beside the rocks:
Rounding the tip of Henry Island:
Pretty sweet, huh? Conditions were perfect and they were super active. We even got a couple of spyhops and good body/tail shots:
This morning when we left Stuart Island we decided to head back via the back side of San Juan Island to see if we could see them again. We were trucking along and all of a sudden there was one right on my starboard side, pretty close and headed the opposite direction. We quickly pulled the throttle and waited for it to pass, and it looked like there were two more behind that one heading north, but it was a little too rough to get any decent photos. But yay! More orcas!
There you go, the whale report from yesterday. Also, there are whale watching people who know way more about which whales these might have been, and they report on them frequently here.
Here's yesterday's track (you can see where the Orcas were by the green doubled line on the west of San Juan Island, and the Minke whales are near that little circle southwest of Minor Island out in the Strait). All told we traveled 55.4 nautical miles over 8 hours.